Dodd introduces wildfire warning legislation

California Senator Bill Dodd, the Napa Democrat who represents Martinez, has introduced legislation that would establish the California Wildfire Warning Center (CWWC).

This would be a statewide network of automated weather and environmental monitoring stations that would conduct fire-weather forecasting and threat assessment to help in wildfire prevention and response, Dodd announced.

This past week, the bill cleared the Senate’s Energy, Utilities and Communications committee with overwhelming support, his announcement said.

“This bill is the kind of statewide, early-warning system California needs to prevent future disasters and save lives,” Dodd said. “It offers a cohesive defense against the effects of climate change and extreme weather, which have been responsible for some of the worst disasters ever experienced by this state.”

Senate Bill 209 not only creates the California Wildfire Warning Center, it provides its oversight by three agencies, The California Public Utilities Commission, the office of Emergency Services and Cal Fire.

Dodd’s announcement says the wildfire warning center would build on existing systems and would be responsible for the ongoing monitoring of fire weather and threat conditions and improvement of fire forecasting models.

The CWWC would work with investor-owned utilities and would require them to install weather-monitoring equipment throughout their systems.

It was the second disaster or wildfire-related bill from Sen. Dodd to advance last week.

Senate Bill 247, which creates critical oversight for vegetation management near electric lines, passed the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee Tuesday, Dodd’s announcement said. The bill would have Cal Fire inspect work performed by Pacific Gas and Electric Company and other utilities, providing independent review to ensure public safety.

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